The Initial exFAT Driver Queued For Introduction With The Linux 5.4 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 30 August 2019 at 01:30 PM EDT. 23 Comments
The Linux 5.4 kernel merge window will kick off in September and with this next kernel cycle the initial open-source exFAT file-system driver is set to be mainlined for supporting this Microsoft file-system, but it will premiere within the kernel's "staging" area for code of lesser, yet-to-be-proven quality.

It's certainly been a wild week for exFAT on Linux. Microsoft finally published exFAT specifications and gave their open-source blessing for seeing support for this file-system on Linux with this file-system being common to SD cards and other embedded flash devices. Shortly after that, the existing out-of-tree exFAT driver code was sent out on the kernel mailing list. This is the exFAT driver originally developed at Samsung and mistakenly saw its code posted more than a half-decade ago before being formally open-sourced by Samsung.

While kernel developers call this exFAT driver code "horrible" and "a pile of crap", it at least functions for dealing with exFAT file-systems and better than having no support at all. As indicated in that article, Greg Kroah-Hartman was inclined to pull this driver anyhow into the kernel's staging area in hopes of it getting cleaned up in short order while finally providing mainline exFAT support on Linux.

Greg lived up to his talk and today committed the exFAT driver to staging-next. This nearly eleven thousand lines of new code did get the sign-off of Microsoft and with it being in the "-next" branch will be set for inclusion into the Linux 5.4 mainline code-base once Linux 5.3 is released.

The patch does acknowledge the code does need some attention: "The exfat code needs a lot of work to get it into "real" shape for the fs/ part of the kernel, so put it into drivers/staging/ for now so that it can be worked on by everyone in the community."

Linux 5.4 should debut as stable in November with this exFAT file-system support.
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